Empowerment Entertainment Travel

Dear Hawaii, Please Take Me Back!

Summer 2019, my cousin Kiki and I took our daughters to Honolulu, Hawaii. We flew from different airports and met there. It was pretty lengthy, but who complains about a layover when your final destination will be heavenly? Prior to leaving, I made us t-shirts for our trip.

I was super excited about being in Hawaii. I had visited years earlier and was now able to spend time in the beautiful island of Oahu with my daughter, Taylor. When we arrived at the Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL) from Fort Lauderdale International Airpot (FLL), my cousins were there awaiting our arrival. We took a taxi to our hotel, Hyatt Place Waikiki. The hotel is located a block away from the beach. However, it feels like you are actually on the beach. The staff is very accommodating and we were welcomed with a few special goodies. The hotel offers free breakfast, which was a major highlight. There was a wide selection of food and beverage options and the food was quite tasty. The concierge desk has tour packages available. We purchased our luau and the Pearl Harbor tour from the hotel and our other excursions we purchased from vendors along the street. We were pleased with all activities. The Waikiki Aquarium and Honolulu Zoo are within walking distance from the hotel. In addition, there are several other hotels, restaurants and shops (including, duty free) within the immediate area.

I’m not sure how we did it, but we literally hit the ground running after dropping off our luggage at the hotel. We walked the block to the beach (which took maybe 3 minutes) and being famished, we searched for food.

After landing, we enjoyed the view from Tiki’s Bar & Grill

We saw sign’s for Tiki’s Grill & Bar inside of the Aston Waikiki Beach Hotel and just figured that we would get authentic Polynesian cuisine. We were not disappointed. The truffle garlic edamame is soooo delicious and you must scoop up the sauce with the taro bread. After we ate, we hung out at the beach for a little and then headed back to the hotel for some rest.

The next day, we visited the Honolulu Zoo. To little Crissy’s horror, we were followed by one particular peacock as we navigated the zoo. After that, we relaxed on the beach (why else would we be in Hawaii). Taylor was smiling from ear to ear as she enjoyed the water, Crissy made a new friend and Kiki was just being her fabulous self. The waters were crystal clear with a beautiful mountainous view in the distance. I used this time to take more pictures and find a quiet seating area where I could take in the scenery, reflect and give thanks. After our day at the beach, Kiki & the girls went shopping, of course. She and the girls also met up with a friend who had been staying on the island. I was done for the day, my heart was full, so I stayed in and babysat Caleb & Mary.

Me, Mary & Caleb

The next day, we had a full agenda. We woke up early to catch a chartered bus to Pearl Harbor. Taylor was excited about this part of our trip. As a requirement for her plane ticket to Hawaii, she had to research and write a paper about the events that led to Pearl Harbor and the aftereffect. The birds are super disrespectful and they are not intimidated by humans. My afternoon snack was snatched out of my hand by one of them. There are tons of historical goodies held within the memorial. On this visit, I was a little disappointed that we could not board the USS Arizona Memorial. It was closed for dock repair while we visited. I believe that it has reopened since.

After the Pearl Harbor tour, we road through other parts of Honolulu. We visited the Punchbowl cemetery, got a peak at Diamond Head, Barack Obama’s high school and childhood home. I’m sure there were other notable places and things we saw. I might’ve fallen asleep.

We made it back to the hotel to get ready for the Chief’s Luau. There are tons of luaus that you can choose from. Chief’s Luau was highly recommended to us by some locals. We boarded another charter bus to get to the luau, which is hosted at the Wet ‘N’ Wild Hawaii waterpark. Be prepared for a show! The luau lasted for about 3-4 hours. The show was amazing. The chiefs sense of humor is what makes the show amazing. The food was ok. The roasted pig was truly the highlight. I’ve since given up consuming land animals. However, when I return to Hawaii, I might have to make an exception.

We got back in super late and we were pretty exhausted from the day. We wanted to accomplish as much as possible while we were there. Next time, I would schedule these events on separate days to give us more time at the beach.

We’ve had so much fun, right? Nothing can top the past few days. Well, not so. A visit to Oahu isn’t complete with a North Shore tour. We had to get up very early the next day. We had another full day planned. It was Kiki and Crissy’s last day on the Oahu. We went so many places that most are lost memories. We made a few stops to purchase souvenirs. We visited several cliffs that offered amazing views of the coastline. The tour guides even took up by the homes of a few celebrities. Most notably, Jackie Chan. We briefly visited the the filming locations of Jurassic Park and Jumanji. One of my favorite stops was the Kahala Hotel & Resort. The hotel sits on the beach and in the centers of the hotel, there are dolphins and sea turtles swimming around. The landscape throughout and along the hotel is beautiful. Everything seemed so much greener and vibrant. The highlight of the tour was Fumis, which has amazing garlic butter shrimp that they serve with white rice and corn. We then stopped by the Macadamia Nut Farm. They tons of free samples of various flavored coffee and delicious macadamia nuts. Next, we went snorkeling with the sea turtles. It wasn’t crowded. And, to end our day, we got pineapple wasted at the Dole Plantation. When we made finally made it back to the hotel, we all wished that we had gotten more of the garlic shrimp dish from Fumis.

Snorkeling with the sea turtles.

The next day was Taylor and I’s last day. So, bittersweet. I woke up around 5am to head straight to the beach for one last sunrise in paradise. Later, I went back to our hotel and got breakfast while Taylor slept. Luckily, they extended our check out time. We ended our trip where we started, having lunch at Tiki’s Grill & Bar munching on some truffle garlic edamame, taro bread and enjoying the view.

Things to Note:

It’s ALWAYS a good time to visit Hawaii and it’s ALWAYS pricey.

Spend time at the beach before/during sunrise. It’s a great meditation/yoga spot. Also, you will enjoy having the beach practically to yourself.

There are rules for entering and exiting the island. Rightfully so, the Hawaiian government is very protective of the ecosystem.

Traffic is pretty bad. So, if you’re going anyplace not within walking distance, plan wisely.

The natives are very friendly.

Dress in your most relaxing attire.

ENJOY. EVERY. SINGLE. MINUTE.

I appreciate you reading my blog, Mahalo!

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